A bistro set – perfect for a small space
No matter how big or small your outside space, with the right furniture and accessories you can transform it into an extra room for your home.
For smaller spaces, such as balconies, patios and side returns, look for pieces that are slim-lined, so they don’t take up too much room, and are also easily folded away; for bigger garden spaces, you can really go to town creating an ‘outdoor’ living room, complete with sofas, tables and daybeds.
The style of furniture you choose comes down to space – for a country cottage feel, generous wood tables and chairs are best; for an indoors/outdoors vibe, rattan covers both; and for urban chic, particularly in a smaller space, folding metal ‘bistro’ chairs and tables are perfect for enjoying a morning coffee or evening glass of wine.
Think about where you’ll keep your furniture throughout the year and invest in the best quality key pieces you can afford, because you can always update them each year with new cushions, tableware and accessories.
We sell a variety of outdoor ranges in different materials and finishes – here’s our guide to what works best and where:
Teak – densely grained and water resistant
As a densely-grained hardwood, teak has a high oil content which ensures its survival through the heat of summer and the cold of winter, so it can be left outdoors all year round. There is little risk or rotting or splitting as it is highly water resistant, but it is a good idea to cover it through the winter months, when not in use, to prolong its life even further.
If you prefer the natural honey colour of your teak furniture, this can be maintained by treating it with a teak sealant or teak oil. Wash the furniture down with soapy water and a soft brush to remove any algae, and then oil to restore its initial glow.
All our teak is sourced from a TFT forest working towards certification.
Eucalyptus – an eco friendly hardwood
Eucalyptus is extremely hard, like oak, with a rich honey colour and subtle rose highlights.
Our eucalyptus outdoor furniture is made from 100% FSC certified Camal (Eucalyptus Camaldulensis) and is produced by a FSC Chain of Custody certified factory. This ensures full traceability from source forest to your door, and confirms that the materials used are from well-managed forests, legally harvested and that your furniture has been manufactured in working conditions that meet internationally recognised standards and expectations.
Synthetic rattan – stylish yet strong
It looks equally stylish indoors as out and comes in a variety of textures, colours and designs.
Unlike natural rattan, synthetic rattan doesn’t crack over time and is also frost, water and UV resistant (which prevents it from fading).
Natural rattan is very versatile as it can be woven into almost any shape for individual, handcrafted pieces. Rattan is the name given to various climbing palms that grow like vines through the rainforests of the tropics and subtropics, where the lengths of these rattan vines are harvested and dried before being shaped into furniture. Despite growing in thin lengths, it is one of the strongest wood fibres available.
Light and warm-looking, rattan is ideal for a conservatory or a patio in fine weather. It is hard-wearing too, but needs to be stored indoors.
Low maintenance metal and mosaic
Wrought iron provides a solid weight, ideal for windy or exposed areas. Ensure it has been powder-coated to guard against rust.
Steel is a good all-rounder when it has been powder-coated for extra weather protection, as it’s more solid and durable than aluminium, but less heavy than iron. Also perfect for use in fold-away pieces when space is at a premium.
Shade is all important, even in mild sun
Pole-based parasols can be round, square or octagonal in shape, with a metal or wooden pole that sits in a solid aluminium, granite or cast iron base (it is essential that the base is heavy enough to support the parasol, do not rely on the table to support it). These can be cranked to adjust height.
Cantilever parasols offer maximum protection from the sun as they can be angled for optimum shade. A simple mechanical system lifts the canopy in a smooth action and locks it securely into position.
If you really want to give your wooden furniture a new lease of life, lightly sand all surfaces with fine grade sandpaper and thoroughly wipe off all sanding dust with a clean dry cloth.
Apply a thin coat of linseed or teak oil with a clean, soft, lint-free cloth, evenly over all surfaces. Allow the wood to absorb the oil entirely – this may take a couple of hours. Repeat this two to three times, depending on how weathered the wood is.
Otherwise to maintain your outdoor furniture in good condition simply follow these steps:
Teak Clean twice a year, gently with a soft brush and specialist teak soap or a solution of mild soapy water. Apply teak sealant or oil when dry if you want to preserve its natural honey tone.
Eucalyptus To maintain eucalyptus in top condition, wash with mild, soapy water and restain or apply an appropriate hardwood oil.
Natural rattan Simply wipe the frame down with a barely damp cloth to keep it dust and grease free. Removable cushion covers can be washed as necessary.
Synthetic rattan Synthetic rattan is supremely easy to maintain, requiring only a wash with warm, soapy water each year. Although it can be kept outdoors in winter, storing it away in a dry, cool place will help to prolong its life. Cushions will need to be stored away when not in use.
Parasols There’s no need to wipe down unless marked from the debris of nearby trees – in this instance, wipe down with a mild soapy water, rinse with cold water, and allow to dry completely before folding up and storing away during stormy, wet and wintry weather.
You can order online, in one of our participating stores or by phone. We will give you an estimated delivery date, which our carrier will confirm by phone. You can see our full collection of alfresco furniture in our 6 dedicated Home stores and a selection of what is on offer in many more stores around the country.